From Wikipedia: It is customary in many cultures to celebrate the anniversary of one's birthday, for example by having a birthday party with family and/or friends. Gifts are often given to the person celebrating the birthday. It is also customary to treat people specially on their birthday, either generally acceding to their wishes, or subjecting them to a rite of transition.
More from famousbirthdays.com:
May 4 1796 Horace Mann, educator/author (Franklin, MA; died 1859)
1889 Francis Joseph Spellman, archbishop of New York (Whitman, MA; died 1967)
1928 Maynard Ferguson, bandleader (Verdun, Quebec, Canada)
Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian president (Kafr-el Meselha, Egypt)
1929 Audrey Hepburn, actress (near Brussels, Belgium; died 1993)
1930 Roberta Peters, opera singer (New York, NY)
1937 Ron Carter, jazz musician (Royal Oak Township, MI)
1940 Robin Cook, author (New York, NY)
1941 George Will, journalist/columnist/author (Champaign, IL)
1942 Nicholas Ashford, singer/songwriter (Fairfield, SC)
1956 David Guterson, author (Seattle, WA)
1959 Randy Travis, country singer (Marshville, NC)
1979 Lance Bass, singer and member of 'N Sync (Mississippi)
More from wikipedia:
1256 - Augustinian monastic order constituted at Lecceto Monastery when Pope Alexander IV issues a papal bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae
1415 - Religious reformers John Wycliffe and Jan Hus were condemned as heretics at the Council of Constance.
1471 - Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Tewkesbury – Edward IV defeats a Lancastrian Army and kills Edward, Prince of Wales.
1493 - Pope Alexander VI divides the New World between Spain and Portugal along the Demarcation Line.
1494 - Christopher Columbus lands in Jamaica.
1626 - Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrives in New Netherland (present day Manhattan Island) aboard the See Meeuw.
1675 - King Charles II of England orders the construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
1776 - Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.
1799 - Fourth Anglo-Mysore War: The Battle of Seringapatam – The siege of Seringapatam ends when the city is assaulted and the Tipu Sultan killed by the besieging British army, under the command of General George Harris.
1814 - Emperor Napoleon I of France arrives at Portoferraio on the island of Elba to begin his exile.
1814 - King Ferdinand VII of Spain signs the Decrete of the 4th of May, returning Spain to absolutism.
1855 - American adventurer William Walker departs from San Francisco with about 60 men to conquer Nicaragua.
1859 - Cornwall Railway opened across the Royal Albert Bridge linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall in England.
1863 - American Civil War: Battle of Chancellorsville – The battle ends with a Union retreat.
1865 - Abraham Lincoln buried in Springfield, Illinois, three weeks after his assassination.
1869 - The Naval Battle of Hakodate takes place in Japan.
1871 - The National Association, the first professional baseball league, opens its first season in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
1886 - Haymarket Square Riot: A bomb is thrown at policemen trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago, Illinois, United States, killing eight and wounding 60. The police fire into the crowd.
1904 - Construction begins by the United States on the Panama Canal.
1910 - The Royal Canadian Navy is created.
1912 - Italy occupies the Greek island of Rhodes.
1919 - May Fourth Movement: Student demonstrations take place in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, protesting the Treaty of Versailles, which transferred Chinese territory to Japan.
1924 - The 1924 Summer Olympics open in Paris, France.
1930 - British police arrest Mahatma Gandhi and place him in Yeravda Central Prison.
1932 - In Atlanta, Georgia, mobster Al Capone begins serving an eleven-year prison sentence for tax evasion.
1942 - World War II: Battle of the Coral Sea – The battle begins with an attack by aircraft from the United States aircraft carrier Yorktown on Japanese naval forces at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands. The Japanese forces had invaded Tulagi the day before.
1945 - World War II: Liberation of the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg by the British Army.
1945 - World War II: Surrender of the North Germany Army to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
1946 - In San Francisco Bay, US Marines from the Treasure Island Marine Barracks stop a two-day riot at Alcatraz federal prison. Five people are killed in the riot.
1948 - Norman Mailer's first novel, The Naked and the Dead, is published.
1949 - The entire Torino football (soccer) team (except for one player who did not take the trip due to an injury) is killed in a plane crash at the Superga hill at the edge of Turin, Italy.
1953 - Ernest Hemingway is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.
1961 - American civil rights movement: The "Freedom Riders" begin a bus trip through the South.
1964 - The long-running soap opera Another World, which would run until 1999, debuts on NBC.
1970 - Vietnam War: Kent State shootings – The Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after the ROTC building was burnt down, opens fire on students protesting at the United States' invasion of Cambodia. Four students are killed, nine are wounded.
1972 - The Don't Make A Wave Committee, a fledgling environmental organization founded in Canada in 1971, officially changes its name to "Greenpeace Foundation".
1974 - An all-female Japanese team reaches the summit of Manaslu, becoming the first women to climb an 8,000-meter peak.
1979 - Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
1980 - President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia dies in Ljubljana at the age of 87.
1981 - Donald Eugene Webb is placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.
1982 - 20 sailors are killed when the British Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield (D80) is hit by an Argentinian Exocet missile during the Falklands War.
1988 - The PEPCON disaster rocked Henderson, Nevada, as tons of space shuttle fuel detonated during a fire.
1989 - Iran-Contra Affair: Former White House aide Oliver North is convicted of three crimes and was acquitted of nine other charges. The convictions, however, are later overturned on appeal.
1990 - Latvia proclaims renewal of its independence after the Soviet occupation.
1994 - Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat sign a peace accord regarding Palestinian autonomy granting self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.
1996 - José María Aznar is appointed Prime Minister of Spain, thus ending 13 years of Socialist rule.
1998 - A federal judge in Sacramento, California, gives "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepted a plea agreement sparing him from the death penalty.
2000 - Ken Livingstone becomes the first Mayor of London.
2000 - The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins play the third longest NHL game in history with 5 Overtimes played, the game lasted until Keith Primeau of the Flyers Scored. 92 minutes and 1 second of overtime was played.
2001 - Pope John Paul II follows Saint Paul's footsteps across the Mediterranean, from Greece to Syria to Malta.
2002 - An EAS Airlines BAC 1-11-500 crashes in a suburb of Kano, Nigeria shortly after takeoff killing more than 148 people.
2003 - The Outbreak of 2003 begins. Ninety-four tornadoes begin the week-long outbreak.
1008 - Khajeh Abdollah Ansari The Persian Sufi (d. 1088)
1008 - King Henry I of France (d. 1060)
1654 - Kangxi Emperor of China (d. 1722)
1655 - Bartolomeo Cristofori, Italian maker of musical instruments (d. 1731)
1715 - Richard Graves, English writer (d. 1804)
1733 - Jean-Charles de Borda, French mathematician, physicist, political scientist, and sailor (d. 1799)
1772 - Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus, German publisher (d. 1823)
1781 - Karl Christian Friedrich Krause, German philosopher (d. 1832)
1796 - Horace Mann, American educator (d. 1859)
1820 - Julia Tyler, First Lady of the United States (d. 1889)
1822 - Charles Boucher de Boucherville, Quebec politician (d. 1915)
1825 - Thomas Henry Huxley, English scientist (d. 1895)
1825 - Augustus Le Plongeon, French antiquitarian (d. 1908)
1826 - Frederic Edwin Church, American painter (d. 1900)
1827 - John Hanning Speke, British explorer (d. 1864)
1852 - Alice Pleasance Liddell, English schoolgirl model for Alice in Wonderland (d. 1934)
1864 - Marie Booth, the third daughter of William and Catherine Booth (d. 1937)
1870 - Alexandre Benois, Russian artist (d. 1960)
1873 - Joe De Grasse, Canadian film director (d. 1940)
1889 - Francis Cardinal Spellman, American religious leader (d. 1967)
1903 - Luther Adler, American stage actor (d. 1984)
1904 - Umm Kulthum (singer), an Egyptian singer (official Date of Birth)(d. 1975)
1913 - Lady Katherine Brandram, née Princess of Greece and Denmark
1916 - Jane Jacobs, Canadian author and activist (d. 2006)
1918 - Tanaka Kakuei, Japanese political leader (d. 1993)
1918 - Thomas Mead, Australian politician and journalist (d. 2004)
1919 - Dory Funk, Professional wrestler (d. 1973)
1921 - Edo Murtić, Croatian painter (d. 2005)
1923 - Ed Cassidy, American musician (Spirit)
1923 - Eric Sykes, British actor and comedian
1923 - Godfrey Quigley, British actor (d. 1994)
1923 - Assi Rahbani, Lebanese composer and author
1925 - Maurice R. Greenberg, American businessman
1928 - Maynard Ferguson, Canadian musician (d. 2006)
1928 - Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt
1928 - Wolfgang von Trips, German racing driver (d. 1961)
1929 - Audrey Hepburn, Belgian actress (d. 1993)
1929 - Sidney Lamb, American linguist
1930 - Roberta Peters, American soprano
1931 - Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Russian conductor
1931 - Thomas Stuttaford, British doctor and writer
1935 - Mr. Fuji, Former professional wrestler
1936 - El Cordobés, Spanish matador
1937 - Ron Carter, American jazz bassist
1937 - Dick Dale, American guitarist
1938 - Tyrone Davis, American soul singer (d. 2005)
1939 - Amos Oz, Israeli writer, novelist, and journalist
1939 - Paul Gleason, American actor (d. 2006)
1941 - George Will, American writer
1942 - Nickolas Ashford, American record producer, songwriter, and musician (Ashford and Simpson)
1943 - Mikhail Chemiakin, Russian painter
1944 - Roger Rees, British-born actor
1945 - Narasimhan Ram, Indian journalist
1946 - John Watson, Northern Irish racecar driver
1949 - John Force, American race car driver
1949 - Stella Parton, American country music singer
1951 - Colin Bass, British bassist (Camel)
1951 - Mick Mars, American guitarist (Mötley Crüe)
1951 - Gérard Jugnot, French actor, film director, screenwriter and producer
1951 - Jackie Jackson, American singer and musician (The Jackson 5)
1952 - Michael Barrymore, English comedian, actor, quiz master and entertainer
1954 - Pia Zadora, American actress
1956 - David Guterson, American author
1956 - Ulrike Meyfarth, German athlete
1956 - Ken Oberkfell, American baseball player
1958 - Delbert Fowler, American and Canadian professional football player
1958 - Keith Haring, American graphical artist (d. 1990)
1959 - Randy Travis, American musician
1959 - Scott Armstrong, American professional wrestling referee
1961 - Luis Herrera, Colombian cyclist
1962 - Oleta Adams, American singer
1967 - Ana Gasteyer, American actress
1968 - Julian Barratt, English comedian and musician, one half of The Mighty Boosh
1969 - Ryan Shamrock, wrestling valet
1969 - Micah Aivazoff, Canadian ice hockey player
1972 - Mike Dirnt, American musician (Green Day)
1972 - Manny Aybar, Dominican baseball player
1973 - John Madden, Canadian ice hockey player
1974 - Miguel Cairo, Venezuelan baseball player
1975 - Laci Peterson, American murder victim (d. 2002)
1976 - Jason Michaels, American baseball player
1976 - Ben Grieve, American baseball player
1977 - Emily Perkins, Canadian actress
1979 - Lance Bass, American singer (*NSYNC)
1979 - Wes Butters, British broadcaster
1981 - Eric Djemba-Djemba, Cameroon footballer
1982 - Robert Hill, Australian athlete
1982 - Kleopas Giannou, Greek footballer
1982 - Markus Rogan, Austrian swimmer
1983 - Derek Roy, Canadian ice hockey player
1983 - Trisha Krishnan, Indian actress
1984 - Manjural Islam, Bangladeshi test cricket player (d. 2007)
1985 - Anthony Fedorov, American singer
1987 - Cesc Fàbregas, Spanish footballer
1987 - Jorge Lorenzo, Spanish motorcycle racer
1987 - Anjeza Shahini, Albanian singer
1991 - Matt Valerie, African-American skateboarder
1992 - Courtney Jines, American actress
1994 - Alexander Gould, American actor
1994 - Pauline Ducruet, daughter of HSH Princess Stéphanie of Monaco
1436 - Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, Swedish statesman (b. 1390s)
1471 - Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales (killed in battle) (b. 1453)
1471 - Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset, English military commander (executed)
1506 - Husayn Bayqarah, ruler of Herat (b. 1438)
1519 - Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino (b. 1492)
1566 - Luca Ghini, Italian physician and botanist (b. 1490)
1615 - Adriaan van Roomen, Flemish mathematician (b. 1561)
1626 - Arthur Lake, Bishop of Bath and Wells, English bishop and Bible translator (b. 1569)
1677 - Isaac Barrow, English mathematician (b. 1630)
1684 - John Nevison, English highwayman (b. 1639)
1729 - Louis-Antoine, Cardinal de Noailles, French cardinal (b. 1651)
1734 - James Thornhill, English painter
1737 - Eustace Budgell, English writer (b. 1686)
1774 - Anthony Ulrich II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (b. 1714)
1776 - Jacques Saly, French sculptor (b. 1717)
1790 - Matthew Tilghman, American delegate to the Continental Congress (b. 1718)
1799 - Tipu Sultan, Indian military leader
1811 - Nikolay Kamensky, Russian general (b. 1776)
1824 - Joseph Joubert, French essayist and moralist (b. 1754)
1849 - Hokusai, Japanese artist (b. 1760)
1859 - Joseph Diaz Gergonne, French mathematician (b. 1771)
1880 - Edward Clark, Governor of Texas (b. 1815)
1901 - John Jones Ross, Canadian politician (b. 1831)
1903 - Goce Delchev, Macedonian revolutionary (b. 1872)
1922 - Viktor Kingissepp, Estonian Bolshevik politician (b. 1888)
1937 - Noel Rosa, Brazilian songwriter (b. 1910)
1938 - Carl von Ossietzky, German pacifist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1889)
1945 - Fedor von Bock, German field marshal (b. 1880)
1955 - Georges Enescu, Romanian composer (b. 1881)
1961 - Anita Stewart, American film actress (b. 1895)
1969 - Osbert Sitwell, English writer (b. 1892)
1970 - Kent State victims:
Allison Krause (b. 1951)
Jeffrey Miller (b. 1950)
Sandra Scheuer (b. 1949)
William Schroeder (b. 1950)
1971 - Seamus Elliott, Irish cyclist (b. 1934)
1972 - Edward Calvin Kendall, American chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1886)
1973 - Jane Bowles, American writer and playwright (b. 1917)
1975 - Moe Howard, American actor and comedian (b. 1897)
1980 - Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia (b. 1892)
1984 - Bob Clampett, American cartoonist (b. 1913)
1984 - Diana Dors, British actress (b. 1931)
1985 - Clarence Wiseman, the 10th General of The Salvation Army (b. 1907)
1987 - Paul Butterfield, American blues harmonica player (b. 1942)
1992 - Gregor Mackenzie, Labour Party (UK) politician (b. 1927)
2005 - David Hackworth, U.S. Army officer and military journalist (b. 1930)
Holidays and observances
International Firefighters' Day.
The Netherlands - Remembrance of the Dead.
People's Republic of China - Youth Day (青年节, commemorating May Fourth Movement).
Republic of China - Literary Day (文藝節, commemorating May Fourth Movement).
Latvia - Day of Re-establishment of Independence
Denmark - Great praying day
Liturgical feast days
in the Roman Catholic Church:
Saint Judas Cyriacus
Saint Ladislaus of Gielnow
Saint Sacerdos of Limoges
Saint John Houghton, Saint Robert Lawrence, Saint Augustine Webster, Saint Richard Reynolds, and Saint John Hale; all put to death in 1535.
Saint Monica of Hippo (d. 387)
Blessed Catherine of Park
The Day of the 42 Beatified and Canonized Martyrs of England and Wales, known as the Day of the Forty.
Formerly celebrated in October.
This thread is not intended to promote my view or any other view concerning birthdays. I invite you to form your own opinions, draw your own conclusions and discuss amongst yourselves.